Wholehearted Living Thursdays~Heroes Among Us

February 23, 2012~`~Everyday at Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom theme park a ceremony occurs amid the rides, cartoon characters, shops, and cotton candy. In Towne Square, the Flag Retreat ceremony includes saying the Pledge of Alliance, flag salute, marching band performance, parade of active and retired armed forces members, singing the Star-Spangled Banner, and retiring the colors.

Part of the daily ceremony agenda includes honoring veterans, who carry the flag down Main Street USA after it has been taken down from the flag pole. In January, 2012, although still recovering from his injuries in Afghanistan, Army Sergeant Cesar Sanchez left his electric wheelchair to walk and carry the flag down Main Street.

Sergeant Sanchez said, “If it’s for the colors, I’ll walk.”

Disney cast members who assisted with the ceremony that day were stunned by his courage and resolve to honor the Stars and Stripes in this way. Many in attendance observed his fortitude and took pictures.

Army Sargeant Cesar Sanchez

Kelly Glassburn, Manager of Marketing & Communications, Disney’s PhotoPass Service wrote, “Sgt. Sanchez shared that he was injured while deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, serving in an elite Army company responsible for finding and clearing improvised explosive devices. He was injured during one such mission, but calmly reminded me that it was his job to do so. Stunned silence was really all I could offer in return and a meager, ‘thank you’ squeaked out between a few tears, hiccups and deep breaths.”

Sgt. Sanchez received both Purple Hearts on the mission that injured him because he insisted on doing the sweep first, before leading the rest of his team into the danger zone. Because of his concern for his team, only the vehicle that Sgt. Sanchez was traveling in exploded , saving the members of his team.

Sergeant Sanchez’ wife Farrah is also in the Army. She told Kelly Glassburn, “Please tell everyone how proud my husband and I were to join the Army and serve our country. We love our jobs! I also want everyone to know how proud (daughter) Emily and I are of Cesar and how very much we love him still.”

Because of Bravery, Because of Grace, we live in a country of heroes, superheroes, who live unselfishly and wholeheartedly.

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